Re: [OPE] RE: labour productivity

From: Alejandro Valle Baeza (
Date: Tue Jun 03 2008 - 11:56:30 EDT


GERALD LEVY escribió:
> michael perelman wrote:
> > anybody with an ounce of sense would be puzzled by the concept of
> > productivity.
{DZ asked:}
> Perhaps I missed something here. In terms of physical output of good i
> per unit of labour, what is puzzling about the concept of labor
> productivity here?

Hi Dave:
There are multiple puzzles such as how to unambiguously define
and measure the units of physical output and how to unambiguously
define a 'unit of labor'. 
Where there are heterogeneous types of output, eg. in the case of
joint production, this can be difficult. For instance, consider the following
real-life example: an individual auto assembly plant makes four different
models of cars each with a variety of options and hence can not be
considered to be homogeneous units of output (NB: this is reflected
in the price of the cars but there is also a big 'mark-up' for options).
Then, there is an issue associated with the 'physical' nature of the output.
E.g. suppose a book publisher makes an e-book available for downloading.
What is the 'output'?   Is it simply one e-copy which can be downloaded
or is it the total number of copies downloaded using the time and
computers of the recipient?
A 'unit of labor' also presents measurement problems, e.g. in the case
of heterogeneous labor.   It's also possible that various kinds of
non-productive activities can be counted as 'units of labor'. 
In solidarity, Jerry

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Michael and Jerry, I wrote a paper connecting labor theory of value with conventional definition of labor productivity. If any body is interested on it I can send the paper.

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